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Forcemeat is a mixture of ground, lean meat mixed with fat by either grinding, sieving, or pureeing the ingredients. The result may either be smooth or coarse, depending on the desired consistency of the final product. Forcemeats are used in the production of numerous items found in charcuterie; such items include quenelles, sausages, pâtés, terrines, roulades, and galantines. Forcemeats are usually produced from raw meat, except in the case of a gratin forcemeat. Meats commonly used in the production of forcemeats include pork, fish (pike, trout, or salmon), seafood, game meats (venison, boar, or rabbit), poultry, game birds, veal, and pork livers. Pork fatback is often used for the fat portion of a forcemeat as it has a somewhat neutral flavor.
- Straight - Produced by progressively grinding equal parts pork and pork fat with a third ingredient, a dominant meat, which can be pork or another meat. The proteins are cubed and then seasoned, cured, rested, ground and finally placed into the desired vessel.
- Country-style - A combination of pork and pork fat, often with the addition of pork liver and garnish ingredients. The texture of this finished product is coarse.
- Gratin - Has a portion of the main protein browned.
- Mousseline - Very light in texture, utilizing lean cuts of meat usually from veal, poultry, fish, or shellfish. The resulting texture comes from the addition of eggs and cream to this forcemeat.
Often the only binder in a forcemeat is the physical structure of the protein used. Sometimes a secondary binder is necessary to hold the mixture. These binders are generally needed when preparing the country-style and gratin forcemeats. The three types of binders include eggs, nonfat dry milk powder, and panades. A panade can be made from starchy ingredients which aid in the binding process; these include well-cooked potatoes which have been pureed, cream-soaked bread, or pâte à choux.
- The Culinary Institute of America. Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. ISBN 978-0-470-05590-8.